Are Muscle Relaxers Addictive?

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It is definitely possible to develop a muscle relaxer addiction. While muscle relaxers are generally prescribed to relieve muscle pain, spasms, and tension, some people use them to induce a feeling of euphoria or dissociation (feeling disconnected from one’s self.) Due to the high possibility of addiction, most medical professionals will prescribe muscle relaxants for no more than two to three weeks. 

Additionally, using muscle relaxers long-term can lead to tolerance and dependence, especially with Soma.

What Are Muscle Relaxers?

Muscle relaxers, also known as muscle relaxants or skeletal muscle relaxants, are medications used to relieve muscle pain, spasms, and tension. These drugs target the central nervous system or the muscle fibers themselves to reduce muscle contractions and promote relaxation. They are typically prescribed for conditions that involve muscle spasms or tightness, such as muscle strains, sprains, or certain musculoskeletal disorders.

It's important to note that muscle relaxers are typically prescribed for short-term use because they can have sedative effects and may lead to dependence if used for extended periods. They are often part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes rest, physical therapy, and addressing the underlying cause of the muscle pain or spasms.

Muscle relaxers should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional, and it's essential to follow their instructions carefully, including dosage and duration of use, to avoid potential side effects and complications. Additionally, they should not be used without a prescription or for recreational purposes due to their potential for misuse and addiction.

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The Prevalence of Muscle Relaxers Addiction:

Many people take muscle relaxers without a prescription to get a feeling of euphoria, sedation, and dissociation (a feeling of disconnect from one’s thoughts and self.) The most addictive muscle relaxers in the United States are Soma and Flexeril. These are the ones that are the most commonly prescribed and abused. According to IMS Health, there were 4.2 million prescriptions of Soma and 28.4 million prescriptions of Flexeril administered in the United States in 2017. In 2010, there were over 12,000 emergency room visits affiliated with Flexeril, and in 2016 over 10, 000 calls to the Poison control Centers involved Flexeril.

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How Can I Know If I Am Addicted to Muscle Relaxers?

Some muscle relaxer addiction symptoms are:

  • Constant drowsiness or sedation
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression

 

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be a sign of a muscle relaxer addiction. S

Other signs of muscle relaxer addiction include: 

  • Taking the muscle relaxer longer than prescribed by one’s physician
  • Faking back pain in order to get a prescription for muscle relaxers
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about muscle relaxers
  • Finishing a bottle of muscle relaxers early so to get a new prescription
  • Inability to stop using muscle relaxers long after they were meant to stop

If you or a loved one struggle with an addiction to muscle relaxers, reach out to us at Avenues Recovery so we can guide you on your road to recovery.

Mixing Muscle Relaxers with Alcohol:

Mixing Muscle relaxers with alcohol is particularly dangerous since they are both central nervous system depressants. Mixing the two can lead to several frightening side effects including;  slurred speech, nausea, seizures, memory lapses, confusion, slowed breathing, and overdose. Alcohol and muscle relaxers together have powerful sedative effects and can cause extreme drowsiness, making driving and operating heavy machinery especially dangerous.

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What Are the Side Effects of Muscle Relaxers?

Some side effects of muscle relaxers include [1]:

  • Dry mouth, 
  • Drowsiness and 
  • Fatigue, 
  • Dizziness, 
  • Nausea 
  • Headaches. 

Muscle relaxers can cause more serious side effects like fainting and blurred vision. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects.

Can You Overdose On Muscle Relaxers?

One can definitely overdose on muscle relaxers. A muscle relaxer overdose can occur if a person takes a higher dose than prescribed. Another factor that can lead to an overdose is increased tolerance to muscle relaxants. Tolerance to muscle relaxers occurs when one keeps increasing the dose, without medical guidance in order to experience the same relief as before. 

Another factor that can lead to an overdose of muscle relaxers is age. Elderly individuals are more likely to overdose on muscle relaxants due to a slowed metabolism. For this reason, it will take less of a muscle relaxant for them to overdose than a younger person. Other factors contributing to overdose are gender, recreational use, and polysubstance abuse (taking more than one drug with the muscle relaxant.)

Do Muscle Relaxers Make You High?

Using muscle relaxers as prescribed has little chance of making you high, but when muscle relaxers are misused, they have a chance of creating a high. Examples of misuse to create a high are crushing or chewing the pill rather than swallowing, taking too much or using it without a prescription.

A muscle relaxant high causes feelings of euphoria and sedation. Those symptoms are heightened when muscle relaxers are taken with other drugs, especially other central nervous system depressants like alcohol, benzos, and barbiturates. 

What is the Treatment for Muscle Relaxer Abuse?

These are some of the treatments for dealing with muscle relaxer abuse:

Medical Assessment and Detoxification:

The first step is often a medical assessment to evaluate the individual's physical and psychological health and the extent of their muscle relaxer abuse.

In some cases, if the individual is physically dependent on muscle relaxers, a medically supervised detoxification may be necessary to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT):

In some instances, healthcare providers may use medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. For muscle relaxer abuse, these medications may include benzodiazepine tapering or substitution therapies.

Psychotherapy and Counseling:

Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be effective in treating substance abuse, including muscle relaxer abuse.

Individual or group counseling sessions can help individuals address the underlying issues contributing to their substance abuse.

Support Groups:

Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide a sense of community and support for individuals in recovery.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment:

Many individuals with substance abuse disorders also have co-occurring mental health conditions. Addressing these underlying mental health issues through therapy and medication if necessary is crucial.

Lifestyle Changes:

Encouraging the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, can help improve overall well-being and reduce the risk of relapse.

Family and Social Support:

Involving the individual's family and close friends in the treatment process can be beneficial. Family therapy and education can improve communication and support the recovery journey.

Relapse Prevention:

Developing strategies to prevent relapse is a crucial component of treatment. This may involve identifying triggers, learning coping skills, and creating a relapse prevention plan.

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How Long Is a Muscle Relaxer In Your System?

The length of time that muscle relaxers stay in your system can vary depending on several factors, including the specific medication, your individual metabolism, and your overall health. However, here is a general guideline for some commonly prescribed muscle relaxants:

Short-acting muscle relaxants (e.g., Flexeril/Cyclobenzaprine): These medications typically have a half-life of around 18 hours. It can take two to eight days for the drug to be mostly eliminated from your system.

Intermediate-acting muscle relaxants (e.g., Robaxin/Methocarbamol): Robaxin has a relatively short half-life. It is usually excreted in the urine within five hours of ingesting the drug.

Long-acting muscle relaxants (e.g., Valium/Diazepam): These medications have a longer half-life, ranging from thirty to one hundred hours, depending on the specific drug. It can take longer for these drugs to be eliminated from your system, possibly up to a week or more.

Don’t allow your addiction to control you and ruin your quality of life any longer! If you or a loved one struggle with muscle relaxer addiction, please reach out to us at Avenues Recovery so we can help you on your path to recovery. We have helped thousands of individuals free themselves from the manacles of addiction and you deserve that freedom too! Sobriety is entirely possible with the right help, support and treatment plan. Contact us today to take your first step toward sobriety and a brighter future.

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Sources

[1] my.clevelandclinic.org

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